The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball

World War II Veterans Popularized the Sport—And Changed the Game for the Disability Rights Movement

On an unremarkable Wednesday evening in the spring of 1948, 15,561 spectators flocked to New York’s Madison Square Garden to watch two teams of World War II veterans play an exhibition basketball game.

The servicemen who took to the hardwood that night were as extraordinarily ordinary as any group of veterans. They could have been the “mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys” from Ernie Pyle’s Pulitzer Prize–winning columns, or “Willie and Joe” from Bill Mauldin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoons. They were your brother, your neighbor, your best friend from high school.

Except, they were different. The home …

Portraits of Loyalty

Shane Sato Depicts Japanese-American Veterans Who Fought for the Country That Imprisoned Their Friends and Families

Growing up as a Japanese American in a Los Angeles suburb, Shane Sato says, he felt “safe and comfortable” and had little, if any, experience with racism or prejudice. Only …

The Epic Bar Fight That Sums Up the Problem with Memorial Day

A Depression-Era Story of Mourning, Motherhood, and Grandiosity

On Memorial Day, 1930, Mrs. Mathilda Burling of New York stood before the headstone of her son, Private George B. Burling, Jr. at grave 17, row 29, at the St. …

I Never Dreamed I Would End up Homeless

Isolated, Anxious, and Distrustful, I Fell Out of Sync With Society

In my training to go fight in Vietnam, we lived and breathed these mottos: “Once a Marine, always a Marine” and “Marines never quit.”

Intensive therapy at the Veterans Affairs …

Gaining Ground in the Battle with My Memories of Vietnam

Baseball, Faith, and Helping Others Gave Me Hope and Control Over My Life

In the mid- to late-1980s, I spent a lot of time at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus. I used to watch the sunsets from a sixth floor balcony …

Crashing the Turnstile at Knott’s Berry Farm

How I Learned to Push Through Life's Limits

Many of my middle-school memories feature my cousin Efrem scooping my brother Adam and me up in his ride and taking us to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. Those …